(EnergyAsia, February 5 2013, Tuesday) — A BP-operated consortium has started oil production at the one of the world’s largest subsea developments at the PSVM development area in Block 31 off the coast of Angola, the UK major has announced.

Since last month, three wells in the area’s Plutao field have begun producing a total of 70,000 b/d, with the first cargo of 998,000 barrels exported to Rotterdam, Netherlands, on December 25.

Production is expected to reach plateau rates of 150,000 b/d over the coming year with the start-up of the Saturno and Venus fields in 2013 and Marte in 2014.

The PSVM development consists of four oil fields, Plutão, Saturno, Vénus and Marte, discovered between 2002 and 2004 in water depths of up to 2,000 metres and is the second BP-operated development in Angola. PSVM is located in the north-east sector of Block 31, about 400 km north-west of the capital city of Luanda.

BP said it has deployed Angola’s first floating, production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) with 1.6 million barrels of storage capacity to undertake the production. A total of 40 production, gas and water injection wells will be connected to the FPSO with a converted hull through 15 subsea manifolds and associated subsea equipment.

Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive, said: “PSVM is one of the largest subsea developments in the world and was one of BP’s key project start-ups for 2012 as we grow higher-margin production. Over the coming decade, we expect Angola, where we have extensive interests from exploration through to production, to be one of the main hubs delivering growth for BP.

Martyn Morris, BP Angola’s Regional President, said: “The PSVM start-up is the reward for many years of hard work and collaboration both in Angola and overseas to deliver this world-class project. PSVM is expected to make a significant contribution to Angola´s production output and bring additional revenue to the country. This is a further step in the confirmation of Angola’s potential as a global energy player.”

BP, which holds a 26.67% stake in the project through subsidiary BP Exploration Angola, said PSVM was developed with more than 20% local content in the manufacture and assembly of key components in Soyo, Dande, Luanda, Porto Amboim and Lobito construction yards.

The consortium’s other stakeholders include state-owned Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola, or Sonangol EP (25%), as the concessionaire, Sonangol P&P (20%), Statoil Angola AS (13.33%), Marathon International Petroleum Angola Block 31 Limited (10%) and SSI 31 Ltd (5%).